3 growth stocks I’d buy right now

The next few years could see rich pickings among growth shares.

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Should you go for dividend income or share price growth? Or both? Well, a combination is probably the safest approach to building a great long-term portfolio, and here are three growth candidates that I like the look of today.

Upcoming pharma?

Vectura Group (LSE: VEC) is a smaller pharmaceuticals company developing inhaled treatments for respiratory diseases, and that’s certainly big business. Vectura took over rival Skyepharma in 2016, so full-year results (due in March) will be heavily influenced by that. The firm’s pre-close update said that things are going as expected, with the City predicting a 4% drop in EPS.

But that small fall is nothing to worry about, and 2017 looks to me like it could be a transformational year for Vectura. There’s a continuation of the last couple of years of earnings growth on the cards, with analysts forecasting 43% growth this year, followed by 52% next. But what does the share price look like?

Despite a couple of years of prior rises, the shares have been falling back since the beginning of 2016. And at 145p today, we’re looking at a forward P/E based on 2017 forecasts of 18, dropping as low as 11 for 2018. I reckon that’s cheap for a growth share, especially as it gives us PEG ratios of just 0.4 and 0.2 respectively (where 0.7 or less is usually seen as good).

Vectura looks tempting to me.

Power growth

If you’re looking for a straightforward business model, you’ve got it in OPG Power Ventures (LSE: OPG). OPG develops and operates power plants in India, and it’s turning into a nicely profitable business.

Earnings have been rising for several years now, and the firm paid a maiden dividend of 0.26p per share at the interim stage after announcing a doubling of revenue and an 81% rise in EBITDA. We also saw free cash flow of £20.6m and a small fall in debt.

There’s a 0.89p dividend, for a 1.6% yield, predicted for the full year ending March 2017, and forecasts suggest it will rise as high as 3.8% by 2019. But the dividend is not the only attractive thing.

At 56p, the share price has almost halved since its 2015 peak, and that’s dropped the forward P/E as low as nine, dipping to a forecast 7.3 by 2018. And that gives us PEG ratios of 0.5 this year and 0.3 next, which look pretty good. There will be uncertainties due to India’s sometimes unpredictable regulatory regime, but that valuation looks low enough to me to more than compensate for the risk.

Where there’s muck

Augean (LSE: AUG) not only has a great name for a waste management company, it also has attractive-looking growth prospects. The firm’s January trading update told us that 2016 pre-tax profit should be in line with expectations, supporting a predicted 14% rise in EPS. That comes after a solid five-year record of EPS growth, with a further 15% expected this year.

We also heard that Augean “generated strong net operating cash flows during 2016 and as at 31 December 2016 net debt was £10.8m which is £2.3m better than expected,” so the firm’s modest but progressive dividends (yielding around 2%, but rising) are pretty much assured.

Despite the squeaky clean outlook, Augean shares are lowly valued. At 49p, they’re on a P/E of only 9.3, dropping as low as 6.6 on 2018 forecasts — and PEG ratios come in at 0.3 for 2017, followed by 0.6. Could be the best growth prospect of the three.

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Alan Oscroft has no position in any shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK has no position in any of the shares mentioned. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.

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